KENYA WILDLIFE SERVICE HEADING FOR BREAKUP?
The new proposed revision of the Wildlife Act, under which the KWS presently operates, foresees a major if not massive change in the way the organization is set up and works.
Information from Nairobi speaks of as many as six different organizations which need creating and setting up, should the draft bill be passed by parliament and subsequently signed into law by President Kibaki.
After cabinet has reportedly accepted the draft the document is now in parliament where the standing committee on wildlife will look it over and, as seen wise and fit, change and chop or else leave it as it is, the latter of course not very likely considering that the Kenyan parliament has of late asserted itself quite vigorously.
New under the draft would be a regulatory body which would engage in licensing, arguably also the remaining part of KWS, of all activities to do with wildlife, i.e. private game ranches, game reserves, conservancies and so forth.
Other new bodies would be a ‘new’ KWS left with management, monitoring and enforcement, besides which a training college, a paramilitary academy, a research centre and an air service wing would need to be formed. Policy formulation, as is the case with many such statutory bodies, would remain within the respective ministry as a main governmental function.
Promoters of the new draft bill have cited the ‘delinking’ of other sectors, where regulatory bodies emerged alongside the operational aspects of previous parastatals but opponents were swift in pointing out that the creation of many bodies would also raise the cost of it all, a burden they say which would be imposed on the ‘consumers’, i.e. through higher fees, levies and other ‘creative’ charges as on regular source from Nairobi put it. ‘We are not opposed to updating the law but we are concerned that the cost of creating such bodies and authorities, offices, staff and boards, will need to be absorbed by us stakeholders and our clients. This would be sort of counterproductive as entrance fees were just raised to record levels a few weeks ago. They now call it conservation fees in fact but we fear new tariff increases are coming no sooner as the new law has been passed the way it is. Parliament should consider the financial burden some aspects of the new bill will bring with them and consult us first before making final decisions’.